After spending 6 months in Scotland working as an apprentice at Bowmore distilleries, Rick Wasmund returned to the U.S. in 2000, full of energy, ideas, and skill, to open up the Copper Fox Distillery in Sperryville, a small village in the Virginia countryside. True to his education he chose to use the Scottish spelling Whisky for his spirits instead of the American Whiskey.
The Copper Fox distillery is special for a few reasons. For one, they uniquely use apple wood and cherry wood to dry the malted grain and malted barley—with the smoke of selected, smouldering fruitwoods instead of peat as is done in Scotland. Secondly, they are the only distillery in the U.S. to malt their own grain and barley, in a traditional and “low tech” way. And finally, they use progressive aging method, where they introduce toasted apple and oak into the barrel to accelerate the aging and give the Whisky unusual and new flavor dimensions.
Copper Fox Rye Whisky is a Rye Whiskey, which is double-pot stilled and progressively aged for 15-20 months using apple wood toasted chips inside a used Bourbon barrel. The mash bill is 66% Virginia Rye, and 33% Virginia Thoroughbred hand-malted barley, kiln dried with apple wood and cherry wood smoke.
Quite Smokey and a little sharp. Might be better suited to a fan of peaty scotch.
This came to us in a Tasting Box. We were pretty excited to try our 3 samples. Copper Fox Rye was up first. If I'm being honest, it was pretty awful. Super smokey, medicinal, unpleasant on the nose. Even worse when you taste it. It reminds me of really cheap scotch, but not as good. Stay away.
I was surprised by how smoky it was. Unexpected for a rye.
Bitter start but sweet finish. Pepper taste a little strong in the initial hit.
Spicy, peeper with a hint of sweet apple.
Great notes, the finish is awesome.
I’m not sure what to say about this whiskey. I got it as part of my membership. I don’t get any of the nose that the description says I should. Maybe pepper. But other than that it’s very medicinal. I tried it neat and it was almost undrinkable. Almost like someone made it in there still in the backyard. With a couple of ice cubes it definitely tamed it a bit, but it’s just not good. Mixer quality at best. I can’t score anyone one star, that’s just mean. But this is the least favorite in my large collection. Sorry.
Heavy smoke flavor. Would be great with a steak and a potato. I like the complexity. Very bold and full of body.
A little too scotchy for my liking.
Came in a tasting and I'd never order a bottle. Ended up dumping it.
Part of a sample package. Very peppery at first and bitter with a medicinal taste.
Another rye that came in a tasting - I would pick this up as well. Curious as to how this would mix in Old Fashioneds.
Smells and tastes like pepper, ended up dumping it
I got this as part of the ryevolution samples. It has a weird flavor, same as the bourbon. It is a metallic, soapy caper flavor. Almost not appreciable rye characteristics. I dont find it much different than their bourbon.
My first rye that I’ve ever sipped. First sip was a bit to peppery for my taste. It got smoother over time. This would be good as a mixer, but you could find a descent mixer at a lower price.
Smoke carries the nose. Farmy smoke palate. Wood notes. I wasn't expecting the smoke, so it does overpower other flavors for me. The finish does linger with mild smoke and spice.
Smoke carries the nose. Farmy smoke palate. Wood notes. I wasn't expecting the smoke, so it does overpower other flavors for me. The finish does linger with mild smoke and spice.
A really smokey rye, but doesn’t taste like a rye. Nice hint of almond. Not really a favorite of mine, finished the simple just cause i don’t like to waste liquor
5.5 stars for creativity and craftsmanship. The barley and smoke instantly remind one of Balcones Texas rye, which I prefer because it’s more substantial. Maybe there’s a significant age difference given that Fox is a toddler (20 months!?). Interesting that the smoke is from hardwoods and not peat. Because of the scotch references, this tastes 1-2 stars better when it’s 40 degrees or colder outside. I suspect the distillery will get better with time.
Smell is like turpentine. Hard to get past it. Pepper flavor may compliment a nice steak
Very smokey, yet smooth. Wouldn’t be bad with a ham!
I’m a rye guy and particularly disliked this. It has an intense smokiness that doesn’t belong.
Amazing with a smooth aftertaste
Read this rye drinks like a scotch which explains why I not huge on the taste. Besides the taste, smooth finish. If you like scotch, this is the rye for you.
If you like mediciney smokey scotch - this is for you. But why not just buy a Laphroaig? I’m a bourbon lover and got the rye taster just to try. This doesn’t even taste like rye so whereas interesting to taste the variety, I couldn’t even finish the sample.
More flowery than I prefer.
Spicy. Almond and caramel hits me. Others say “drinks like a scotch” or peaty...good comp
This rye drinks like a scotch. Almost has a peaty taste on intial sip. As it opens up I could get subtle sweet notes from the apple and cherry wood. Pretty unique and could see this bottle being a good conversation starter with guests.
Strongest of the sampler, heavy burn. Interesting after notes.
This is a wonderfully unique rye that scotch lovers might find intriguing. If you ever have a chance to go to the distillery in Sperryville, VA, it's pretty cool.
Like Scotch, wasn't expecting it in a rye whiskey. Not my favorite
Did not go back for a second sip. Very chemical taste. Aftertaste was not great.
Definitely taste the Scottish influences... I enjoy a nice scotch and bourbon, so for me this is a nice marriage of flavors. Campfire on the nose, then cinnamon and raisin, with a dry finish. Enjoyable to drink.
Strong pepper and spice flavors with a hint of chocolate. Medium smoothness
Too much like a scotch. Don’t really like this one.
I feel like I'm reviewing a scotch, and I don't care for scotch. Don't get me wrong, there's some rye notes in this whiskey and actually it's fairly smooth to drink neat. But the scotch characteristics dominate the flavor for me. If you like scotch and rye it might be worth trying.
Really enjoyable. Smooth and flavorful. I have not had many Rye whiskeys to compare it to, but liked this one.
Definitely has a black pepper aftertaste with a hint of tobacco. Glad it’s only a sample at this point, but I’ll let it sit for a few moments and see if it gets better.
The raisin came through pretty strong on this (I couldn’t have said that’s what it was, but it was a new flavor to me that I couldn’t place until seeing the Flavor Spiral). The floral element was also present and didn’t help my overall take on this one.
Strong scent of apple and caramel, taste of sweet nutty apple, enjoyable spice throughout the finish
Taste was bitter. Almost like rubbing alcohol. Would not recommend this.
Mild spice, really smokey. Bbqey. Sweet apple finish.
Average rye and tried in welcome box. Not what I am looking for in a rye.
Definitely on the Scotch-y side of taste, more than a bourbon taste
Really enjoined this sample as it was pleasant and smooth. Can definitely tell the character of this having some Scottish influence. I liked and buying a bottle for my collection.
Blended spice for a balanced taste with no one flavor leading too far out front. Just ok for me.
Not what I usually look for in a rye. I received this in the welcome tasting box and at first thought they may have mixed up the scotch with the rye; this is very similar to a dark scotch. Will not get again, as even if it were a scotch it is not a pleasant one.
This was my first rye so I don’t have much to compare it to. It was definitely smokey and peppery. I got more flavors the second time I tasted it but it still didn’t jump out at me as something I wanted to buy at this point.
Aroma does not really do anything for me, positive or negative. Taste is initially smokey, and fades into spicy/peppery. It is not bad by any means, but also nothing spectacular.
Was expecting more of traditional rye, but the peppery, smokey flavor was reminiscent of peaty Scotch, which if you like can offer something new to the rye drinker.
Reminds me of a scotch mixed with a rye. Not terrible, but I don’t really enjoy the smoke taste in whiskeys.
Eye: Golden straw
Nose: Smoke, Herbal
Taste: Smoke, Straw, Rye, Dill
Mouth feel: Creamy
Pepper profile too strong
Initial nose was of a campfire, first sip is one note, hot and fairly astringent. Glad I didn’t buy a full bottle.
Reminds me of a peaty Highland Scotch
More like a scotch than a rye. A little hot, with a strong pepper upfront. Inconsistent finish.
Very similar to black label. The pepper and Smokey taste is strong at first and Smooths out at the end. Decent but not really a rye taste.
This stuff was not my cup of tea. The flavor was very powerful, but it was still very smooth going down. I can see why someone would enjoy this however I did not.
Not bad, above average rye whisky, like the peppery bite.
The smell alone was too strong for me. First smells were the cinnamon and spice. Went down smooth. After taste was fine. Dry.
This is an edgy whisky with a smooth, but dry aftertaste. You can definitely taste the scotch roots of this distillery’s pedigree.
Very peppery and dry, not my favorite
Didn't care for it. To much of a cinnamon taste, and not a fan of smoky drinks.
Lots of bite/pepper. Very good and lots of levels of flavors. Good for a slow sipper.
Not a Rye Whiskey fan
Drinkable but I'm not Rye guy
Smells strong and sweet. First taste is peppery, but it goes down smoothly. Just a hint of black licorice on the finish. I was expecting to not like this one, but was quite pleasantly surprised.
A little more peppery than I prefer. Rye whisky is not my favorite. But it’s a nice sipper.
I doubt this is the fault of Copper Fox. I think tasting it simply teaches me that I don't like Rye Whiskey. This on my palette is spicy, followed by more spicy, and I prefer a smoother whisky.
Slightly smoky, smooth, and a little spice. Would be proud to own a bottle of this.
Impressions of leather and fruit with hints of pepper. Mild and uncomplicated. Not at the top of my list, but still a good spirit.
My 2nd favorite of the starter whiskey tasting set (my favorite was the Breckenridge). The pepper taste starts as intriguing, and I found it easier on the palette than peat/smoke. But it could be a bit much after a while. The finish is milder and sweeter, so I could see myself going back to it for a change of pace, but it won’t be an everyday whisky for me.
I really liked this unique approach to making rye. I will be looking for more things from Copper Fox in the future!
Not nearly as smoky as campfire rye by high west, I tasted more bite and some buttering but not smoky. 2nd favorite in the rye set
The smoky (pepper) taste lingers too long for me
Not really the rye for me. I know friends that will really like this style, but my taste goes a different direction. This is why tasting is important - try something different to better learn what you like.
Wait, it sat on my tongue a bit longer and yes, I really do like it! It’s a sneaky one, worth the wait.
Got it in my intro box and it turned me around on Ryes!
Perfect for mid day, nice and light!
smokey flavor. Hard to pick out anything other than that and little bit of pepper and rye. Mostly taking away smoke from this one
Was not that impressed when I sniffed it, but once it hit my tongue I found it delightful! Just the right amount of bite for me. Not too much that it is difficult to drink, but not so smooth that you do not know it is a good rye.
More spice than expected. The long flavors were nice.
Lot of bite.
Good Rye! Spicy and dry.
It is a little peppery.
It is a very good, intense, Rye Whiskey that has an aromatic birth; while a rich & spicy life leads to a spicy death of medium length with notes of bitter-apple, flour & unbaked dough.
Not a fan. Poor after taste in my opinion.
Nutty aroma, Smokey flavors with a hint of spice
I got hints of licorice with this one.
not a huge fan of the strong smokey flavor
Sorry, i mean the pepper. Too much bite for me.
I did not care for this at all.
This is more of a Flaviar review. There were no tasting notes. I have no idea which one was what. I'm also pretty sure two of the samples were the same whiskey.
Not a fan of Rye but this one had a nice kick.
I'm surprised the flavor profile on here doesn't mention, either in the "Spiral" or the long description, that this rye is smokey. First flavor is smoke. Aftertaste is smoke. There are some other flavors buried in between, but unless you're a big fan of smokey flavors, I would skip this one.
Not my favorite. I did get the pepper and almond. Smooth on ice.
Strong black pepper and spice. Tasted like black powder. It wasn't bad but I it wouldn't be my go to.
This is just bad It tastes like imitation smoke I love peat and smoke but this is just bad.
I think it’s ok, interesting but seems young. Like other’s have said, why rush it?
I wasn’t expecting the peaty taste, not really a fan.
Given the peaty taste, I wasn’t surprised to learn of the connection with Bowmore. What’s with this business of trying to speed the aging process? What’s the hurry? This one needs an Antica Sweet Vermouth, some bitters, and a Luxardo cherry. Up.
I was fooled. Figured this a very peaty Scotch. Didn't get the rye
with my first sip, I thought I it tasted like medicine. later sips, I could taste other flavors such as honey, pepper, and smoke. It's smooth, but the flavors don't work that well together.
Not my favorite rye. A bit of a metallic taste.
More Smokey than peppery. Very harsh profile. Happy I got to taste, more happy I don’t have a bottle. Would recommend taming.
To each their own - but this is absolute yuck. The nose is like something out of a 50's medicine cabinet with a hint of some kind of a nasty herb. Traces of vomit lingers. It hits the tongue with an unforgiving burn and any flavor quickly evaporates. If there is anything positive about it, I could not really detect any finish at all - it just goes away, which is a good thing.
I sensed a pretty prominent spicy odor and thought this was going to burn on the way down but I was wrong. Very smooth going down. You can definitely sense the spiciness in the flavor. I like more peated smoky whiskeys so I wouldn't buy this but it was still enjoyable.
Complex. Nice smokey flavor with spicy aftertaste
lots of almond on the nose, I thought it was almost caramel-y. Smooth, a little spicy, nutty. I liked it and would drink again
Smoke, gasoline, floral, dark chocolate, licorice
I do get the raisin and almond on the nose once I read the flavor spiral. Prior to reading it, the nose hits like a youthful rye. It also tastes like it’s only been aged for a year, but that does not mean it’s not good. No bite and a pleasant finish. I’d recommend as a nightcap after a steak or chop.
Was not the best in the group. Was to rough of a finish. The profile was to harsh.
First sniff was like smelling a saddle. First sip was like getting a mouthful of leather. Will take a few to get used to this.
Not bad, but not amazing. Very strong pepper/spicy on the attack and the finish leaves me feeling like I just had a cigar; wish it was a higher quality cigar.
I just sampled this and feel like you have to be in the mood for something different. It has a lot going on. I will never buy this but in the right setting if offered I’d give a go again. It’s not worst thing I’ve had but definitely not the best. I’ll give it the benefit and put it right in the middle. Man a lot of different flavors going on. I’d say it’s the tie-die rye of whiskey.
Almost came out as a Irish Whiskey. Very strong Peat flavor came out. The longer it sat on ice, the more a pepper flavor came out.
Tastes like whiskey and perfume. The floral notes are over powering and take away from the whiskey
Smells and tastes like lamp oil. Had to do something I have never done before, poured it down the drain.
Eh, it’s a cool concept, but not for me. The flavor profile is different to say the least with the fruitier and sweeter notes up front, then a bit bitter of a floral and Smokey finish. It was nice to try, but not my glass of rye.
Definitely a bit on the sweeter side, but I enjoyed it.
Good stuff, but can taste the charcoal. I like the bite!
Don’t mind the smoke but little too harsh. Better with a splash of water.
A bit medicinal at the nose. Leathery overtones obscure the subtler flavors and are a bit too much for my palate.
Good very smoky
Smokey and a bit harsh. Long finish, but not necessarily a pleasant one. Better with a bit more water than I generally prefer.
Smooth but very peppery and smokey. Perhaps would have been better paired with the right food but on it's own I am not the biggest fan.
Would try it again. Better than average but not. My favorite.
Has a very metallic taste. Couldn’t get past it.
Aroma: spice like cinnamon, alcohol. Taste: heavy pepper spice, slight nuttiness. On ice:. Subdued pepper, oily with a hint of a sweetness and other spice.
Too heavy on the spice and heat combo for my taste, may go great in a mix.
Smokey. To Smokey for my palette.
Complex, smoky flavor. Unexpected, but good.
I swung by their location in Williamsburg, and had the opportunity to run down the whole line.
The beginnings of a delicious rye are in this bottle, but it doesn't have the balance dialed in. This is a common issue through their "lower level" whiskeys where the smoke overpowers the rest of the flavors.
Copper Fox gets it right in the Cognac finished edition which is really tasty. It was much more expensive though.
Delicious rye. Hint of fruit smoke
I normally like my rye neat. This one was good but needed an ice cube. Mellowed it right out
I thought this sample had been mis-shipped: I was sure it was scotch. The smoke is so overwhelming I couldn't get past it to the other flavors. I'll bet if this was sent with a scotch sampler no one would figure out it's a rye.
Too smoky for a rye. Tasted like an immature Islay scotch.
A bit medicinal at first. Got better as the ice melted.
Peaty. More like a scotch than a rye
Peppery, smoky, with a bit more peat flavor than I was expecting. It’s good, but if you are looking for a pure eye, it’s a step or two away. I like it and would buy it again.
Too peaty this was more like a scotch than a rye
Picked up hay/grass on the nose. Astringent, raspberry, hot flavor. Not really my favorite, but pretty smooth.
Sweet start with smoky finish.
Too much smoke
Pleasant with a hint of smoke
I actually really liked this Whiskey. It was a bit on the sweeter side but really easy going down in the flavor is quite unique. Worth trying if you can find it on sale
Loved the smoke! Balanced nicely with a toasty maltiness and fruit. Not a typical rye, but gorgeous and fun. Try mixing it with a bit of Zucca.
To much peat and smoke for a rye.
Got to admit - it was a bit moss and peat up front, with strong tones of distilled spirit. Rough opening with long legs. But, as I made my way through the bottle, it opened quite well. Worth the experience, but not a staple on my shelf.
Terrible. Tried this in my advent calendar. Smells and tastes like turpentine.
Earthy, spicy rye
Very spicy with a nice warm finish. It’s not the best rye I’ve had but it’s not the worst either.
decent Rye. Received with the holiday advent calendar. I enjoyed it but don't plan on ordering a whole bottle
Great smokey finish. Very floral taste with apple mixed in. Strong spice on first sip due to the 48% abv. But again the good smoke finish. Not my favorite but I could see pairing it with a cigar would be nice.
This surprised me. From the flavor spiral I thought it would be too sweet, but it was real actively balanced. Not something I would drink on a regular basis, but I could see myself having it as an after dinner sipper.
It was good but I like to taste more notes.
Not my favorite. It tastes like I am drinking flowers. That smell when you step into a flower shop, that smell is what I taste.
Quite delicious. Love the flavors. The flavor spiral is spot on. Great oily mouthfeel.
Little harsh on the front but very smokey good aftertaste
My initial taste was over-powered by the smoke. Once it opened up, however, I really liked it. The apple comes through nicely and the finish is good.
Good for mixing, but too smoky for easy sipping IMHO. Definitely gets bonus points for ingenuity on the aging process.
I really enjoyed this Scotch. Great effort from an American company. Usually the US stuff lacks character and depth but this one I liked. It's got a hint of smoke with a lot behind it. Caramel and fruit gives it that depth that good Scotch requires. Thanks to the tasting box for bringing this one I would have otherwise not tried.
Lots of cherry. Very sweet. Sippable
Ugh. Tastes like you are drinking a rose. With the thorns still on. After a dog pissed on it.
Harsh taste, needs to be mellowed
Smokey, sweet. I dig it. Not so boozy, just charred barrel
lOVED THE aPPLE
lOVED THE aPPLE
My go to Rye here in VA.
Definitely detect the Apple. Great flavor and unique sweetness. Love it!
The toasted apple flavor is just lovely. Very complex
Really liked this — great malt and balance. A rye we’d actually sip, and for an excellent Manhattan.
Very smooth beginning. Sharp kick right as you swallow. But the fruity hints leave a pleasant taste in the mouth.
Apple & cherry on the nose makes it instantly intriguing. I would probably enjoy it more if the flowery flavor wasn't there. Two small ice cubes are making more enjoyable (smoothing it out). I read in a comment that this would probably make a great rye for use in Manhattan's & I tend to agree.
Love the smoky, subtle apple tastes. Very Smooth !
Exactly my thoughts on this one. Nailed it!
Unique... cherry smoked almonds...
I'm not great with this Flaviar spiral, yet. This has a great sweet finish, almost like a Desert rye. Accidentally poured some OJ in to my glass from the night before, not that it needs mixing but OJ is a great compliment. Now it's mimosas for the wife and OJ n'Rye for me on Sunday brunch.
Smooth with a smoky finish.
couldnt agree more!
A dry, spicy rye with a snootful of smoke. I get a bit of the fruit, but the smokiness overpowers my senses. Please note: I am not a Scotch drinker.
Apply with a hint of wood. Spicy but not sweet.
Smokey, Toasted Nose. Big smoke and Rye Body. Light Apple note at the end.
Makes a delightful manhattan with Dolin Rouge vermouth and a plump luxardo cherry.
A bit sweet but the subtle Apple taste was refreshing
I'm a bit of a newb but this seemed a little one dimensional.
Seemed under developed. Very overpriced for the quality. Maybe a good for mixing if it was cheaper.